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Dr. Bennet Omalu crusades to protect children’s brains

Dr. Bennet Omalu discovered the brain disease CTE.

Dr. Bennet Omalu discovered the brain disease CTE. Photo Credit: Ed Betz

With the start of the NFL preseason right around the corner, concussions are still a raging topic throughout the football world. The increasing amount of information released into the public has some parents refusing to let their kids participate in the sport.

Dr. Bennet Omalu, made famous through his breakthrough concussion research and discovery of CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) and portrayed by Will Smith in the film “Concussion,” has crusaded against children playing high-contact, high-collision sports.

His journey through his discovery of CTE is now told in his new book, “Truth Doesn’t Have a Side: My Alarming Discovery about the Danger of Contact Sports.” Although the common perception is that he’s against the sport and against the NFL, he says that his new book doesn’t portray that at all.

“The book is not about football, and it’s not about the NFL,” Omalu told amNewYork. “It’s a book written for each and every parent in America, to go through my journey and understand why my position today is that no child should play high-impact, high-contact sports … because knowing what we know today, all it takes to suffer brain damage is just one concussion.”

Omalu’s book comes out just two weeks after The Journal of the American Medical Association published a study that found CTE in the brains in 110 of 111 deceased NFL players.

“We thought this disease occurred only in boxers,” he said. “It happen in any sport where the head is exposed to blows.

“The NFL’s reaction and response to this brain injury issues, in my opinion, is ‘we do it with fear.’ Fear of losing the bottom-line, which is the wrong approach. Fear is destructive.”

Omalu is a big supporter of children playing sports. His two children participate in non-collision sports like swimming and basketball. He also believes that more should be done with the information that has flooded through from his initial research.

“There is only one truth,” he said. “There is no alternative truth, and the truth is children shouldn’t play. I know it’s very provocative, almost radical. But the truth is never convenient.”


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